A-horizon- horizon formed at the surface containing accumulated organic matter mixed with the mineral content
Ab-horizon – an A-horizon buried under other sediments
AC-horizon – soil horizon that contains soil components characteristic of both the A-horizon and C-horizon
Alluvial – loose, unconsolidated sediments eroded and deposited by past and current rivers and streams.
Ap-horizon – plow zone
Artifact - any object formed by humans

B-horizon - subsoil horizon containing concentrations of clay or minerals, such as iron or aluminum oxides, or organic material moved there by leaching
Biface –an unfinished stone tool flaked on both sides.
Bioturbation – disturbance in soil created by rodents, roots and insects
Chalcedony - see chert
Chert – a sedimentary rock composed of silica
Chronological – a sequence of events arranged in their order of occurrence. Maryland’s prehistory is divided into the following periods:

  • Paleoindian (10,000 B.C. – 7500 B.C.)
  • Archaic (7500 B.C. – 1000 B.C.)
      • Early Archaic (7500 B.C. – 6000 B.C.)
      • Middle Archaic (6000 B.C. – 3500 B.C.)
      • Late Archaic (3500 B.C – 1000 B.C.)
  • Woodland (1000 B.C. – A.D. 1600)
      • Early Woodland (1000 B.C. – A.D. 200)
      • Middle Woodland (A.D. 200 – A.D. 900)
      • Late Woodland (A.D. 900 – A.D. 1600)

Debitage – in the process of creating a stone tool, or sharpening the edges of an existing stone tool, small stone flakes, or debitage, are knocked off. These small flakes can be associated with a particular stage in the reduction process based on certain characteristics. While there is large body of literature devoted to the discussion of debitage attributes, generally there are four classes of debitage:

  • Primary flake – characterized as having cortex covering more than 50 percent of the dorsal surface
  • Secondary flake - displays less than 50 percent cortex covering the dorsal surface
  • Tertiary flake – typically associated with shaping the tool, such as bifacial reduction, and does not exhibit cortex   
  • Shatter - characterized as lithic debris which does not exhibit a bulb of percussion or striking platform

Diagnostic – artifact type that contains characteristics associated with a specific period of manufacture
Dorsal – the top side of an artifact
E-horizon – subsoil horizon where iron, manganese and other minerals have been leached out
Fire-cracked rock (FCR) – rock fragments created from exposure to intense heat.
Hammerstone - a cobble used during tool manufacture to knock flakes off of a lump of stone
Hydric – soils formed in saturated conditions long enough that anaerobic conditions form
Jasper - same as chert, but includes more iron
Lithics – types of rocks, such as jasper, quartz and chert
Mano – a small, smooth hand-held stone used to grind grain and/or clay
Metate – a large stone with a bowl or trough where a material is ground using a mano
Preform – a rough, basic form of an unused stone tool
Projectile point – a sharpened stone or bone object hafted to the tip of a projectile, such as a spear or arrow
Provenience –the location of an object
Quartz - a glassy mineral found in various colors or as clear, six-sided crystals 
Quartzite - rock metamorphosed from quartz-rich sandstone
Radiocarbon dating – method used to estimate the age of organic remains in an archeological site by measuring the amount of radioisotope Carbon 14 present in the sample.  
Rhyolite – a silica-rich volcanic rock
Scraper – a small flaked stone tool used for scraping hides, bone and other materials
Serpentine – a type of soft rock carved by Native American into vessels
Shovel test pit (STP) – a small, round excavation  
Stratum –a distinct layer of soil or rock
Temper - material added to the clay to control shrinkage
Test unit (TU) – a large, square excavation

Courtesy of the State Highway Authority